Windows 10 is often hailed as Microsoft’s best operating system yet, not least when compared with Windows 8, which was widely derided by businesses and consumers alike. However, just like any operating system, Windows 10 is a highly complex piece of software comprising numerous applications that are built to work flawlessly with a practically limitless variety of different hardware combinations.
Workplace productivity depends heavily on the performance of your computers, so it makes a lot of sense to spend a little time tweaking Windows to get the most out of it. From unwanted bloatware to system settings that sacrifice performance for aesthetics, there are several things that every business user should do once they set up a new computer or perform a fresh installation of Windows.
Uninstall Junk Software
Most new computers ship with additional preinstalled software rather than a standard copy of Windows with any extra drivers necessary for your hardware to function. This software typically shows up in the form of unwanted programs cluttering up the start menu or apps that automatically start when you log in, thus increasing the time it takes to reach a workable desktop.
Fortunately, this so-called bloatware generally doesn’t affect computers designed for business use, but there are exceptions. For example, uninstalling a program often leaves behind some unwanted remnants that take up hard drive space. And by default, Windows also leaves a copy of previous versions in the “windows.old” folder in your root directory. This folder can use up more than 20GB of space.
The easiest way to remove junk files is to run Disk Cleanup. A core Windows 10 component, this tool lets you remove obsolete system files such as those left by Windows Update and previous versions of the operating system. You should get into the habit of running disk cleanup periodically, especially after Windows Update has released major operating system update, such as the Fall Creators Update.
Unfortunately, Disk Cleanup won’t get rid of any manufacturer-installed bloatware, so you’ll need to do that manually from the Apps & Features section of the control panel. You can access this by pressing the cogwheel icon in the Start menu. This approach is preferable to using the Add/Remove Programs section of the original control panel, since it allows you to remove Windows Store apps too.
Windows 10 is the very first operating system to make security patches and major new version updates compulsory, and with good reason too. That’s because these essential updates help keep your computers secure from a wide variety of online threats. While you can defer updates by up to 30 days, it’s usually better to let them install automatically.
Although Windows 10 generally does a good job of keeping itself up to date, there are a few important considerations, particularly when it comes to the installation of major new builds of the operating system. These updates are effectively entirely new versions of Windows, and they’re released twice annually. While Windows 10 should take care of these major updates for you, you may still want to defer them.
Business users typically need more time to implement major updates, since having them automatically downloaded and installed can cause serious disruption. You can defer major feature updates by up to 365 days, although the previous version will continue to receive essential security patches. To ensure optimal performance and reliability, you should install feature updates sooner rather than later, however.
To keep your office computers running smoothly, consider implementing a regular maintenance routine that gives you plenty of time to back up your existing systems and download and install updates without causing disruption. While you’re at it, be sure to update any hardware drivers and other programs on your computers, such as instant messengers and productivity suites.
For the most part, Windows 10 is perfectly capable of looking after itself, but that doesn’t mean you no longer need to make any effort to maintain your computing infrastructure. Fortunately, SpectrumWise is here to help by offering a full range of IT services to support your business and help you get more out of technology. Contact us today to find out more.